This is the second Musictrade album release from English electronica artist Softspace, following his Experiments at the Edge of Time [MT007, March 2006]. Where the debute album was built mostly on fairly light and uncomplicated synth material, this new album is definitely more experimental and ambivalent in nature. Synth-based material is still prominent but now it is intimately combined with field recording / foundsound material in the form of 'documentary soundscapes' and radiophonic style constructs. From these ingredients Softspace creates a new imaginary world full of curious aural details for Mahler's imaginary cat to step in and start to explore. To give a rough style/genre pointer, think of psychedelic Stockhausen with bits of Beatlesque leaking through the scenery.
NOTE: a special audiophile version (24 bit/44.1 kHz masters packed with FLAC, 599 MB download) of this album is available on BitTorrent.
April 19, 2006
This is without a doubt one of the most distinctive and absorbing albums within the ever increasing field of electronic music that Ive ever run across. Softspace manages to take electronics, field recordings, radio recording oddments, and synthesizer based sounds and unify them into one magical album of experimental electronica. My audio-player was set on random when I first gave this album an attentive listen, and the first track that I heard was The Touchstone which caught my interest with its warm, ambient drone and peculiar tiny electronic noises that seemed to be trying strike up a conversation with me. This was followed by the cinematic Navigation with its soothing, synth-based orchestral ambient quality. I quickly discovered that there was more to this album than just an ambient presence as I listened to Impressions which is an assortment of radio recordings, slowed-down voices, orchestral snippets, odd electronic noises, that intermingle with an assortment of other interesting sound samples. Other highlights for me on this album were Seeding with its first few rhythmic minutes of crunchy beats that eventually dissolve into a disordered patchwork of noises and the title track Mahlers Cat which begins as rather faltering collage of electronics, synths, and found sounds that evolves into a beautifully organized quick-paced piece of electronica. Tundraand Voices are both slow-moving and brooding compositions made all the more threatening with several layers of inharmonious sounds playing against each other. Subway Trip has a flavor similar to Impressions - very surreal with a dense layer of slowed down and/or reversed voices. Tooday and Voices seem to be the most unreal and abstract of the tracks as after listening to each of them I was left bewildered and disoriented with so many varieties of incongruous sounds playing against each other. -LAJ-